By  on April 12, 2018

With a bankruptcy court auction still set for Monday, the fate of  The Bon-Ton Stores is even more uncertain than it was a few days ago when a group of landlords said they were willing to buy “substantially” all of the assets to keep the retailer afloat.

In a court document filed Monday, the retailer sought court approval to pay the consortium of investors — Namdar Realty Group, Washington Prime Group and DW Partners LP — a $500,000 “work fee” so the parties can keep discussions ongoing as they try to finalize an agreement to acquire Bon-Ton and keep it operating as a going-concern. Bidders typically ask the court for a fee so they can cover the costs of their due diligence. On Wednesday, a bankruptcy court denied the request, throwing a wrench in the retailer’s plans. It remains to be seen whether the investor group will still make a bid at auction. Even if a bid had been firmly in place, there was always the chance that the offer could fall short should a better one be placed during the auction. But without a bid acting as the so-called “stalking horse,” the odds are growing that a liquidation of the company could be the end result.

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